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Welcome to The Disaster Diaries of Rhyane Jane, a serial fiction podcast about disaster preparedness and survival! We hope you enjoy Season 1 of the show. Season 2 is currently in development, and let's just say that it's even bigger and better than the first season. Stay tuned...September 2024. 🌊

Item of the Week: ID & Important Documents

Sep 12, 2022

Why do you need identification and other documents in your emergency kit?

Well, it’s not to fuel a makeshift fire (that’s what waterproof matches are for). It’s to be able to rebuild your life after a disaster or emergency. 

Think about it. If your house is destroyed in a hurricane, for example, do you have a copy of your deed? Or if you don’t own your home, do you have a copy of your lease or other rental documents? To be able to receive financial assistance from the government or access your insurance benefits and other resources after an emergency or disaster, you’ll need policy numbers and other key information stored in these documents. 

So, what types of documents should you plan to have copies of in your emergency kit? 

Occupancy Documents

These documents can help establish where you live.

  • Lease/rental agreements
  • Utility bills (e.g., electricity, gas, or water)
  • Merchant statements (e.g., credit card bills, delivery notices)
  • Employer statements (e.g., pay stubs)

Ownership Documents

These documents can help establish what you own.

  • Deed or official records
  • Mortgage documents
  • Property insurance policies
  • Property tax receipts or bills
  • Titles/certificates of title (e.g. property, auto)
  • Video, photos or a list of household inventory

Identification Documents

These documents can help establish your identity.

  • Driver’s license
  • State or military-issued ID
  • Citizenship documents (e.g., passport, visa)
  • Birth certificates
  • Recent photos of your family members

Medical Documents

These documents can help inform any medical care you receive.

  • Health records
  • Medication/prescriptions
  • Health insurance card
  • Vaccination records

Financial Documents

These documents can help you establish and access your funds and assets.

  • Bank account numbers
  • Previous year's federal and state tax returns
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Investment records

Insurance Documents

These documents can help you establish and access your coverage benefits.

  • Homeowners insurance policy documents/information
  • Renters insurance policy documents/information
  • Flood insurance policy documents/information 
  • Earthquake insurance policy documents/information
  • Auto insurance policy documents/information 
  • Life insurance policy documents/information 
  • Health insurance policy documents/information 
  • Disability insurance policy documents/information

Legal Documents

These documents can help you establish your legal arrangements.

  • Marital status documents (e.g., marriage license, divorce decrees)
  • Custody documents (e.g., child custody or adoption papers)
  • Business documents (e.g., contracts, articles, certificates)
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Funeral instructions
  • Powers-of-attorney

Contact Information

Phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses can help you contact and access important people.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Medical providers
  • Attorneys
  • Financial advisers
  • Financial institutions (e.g., credit unions, banks, credit card companies)
  • Utility service providers (e.g., electric, water, sewage, phone, internet)
  • Usernames and passwords for online accounts

One last document to consider including in your kit is a letter to your family or friends, just in case you aren’t there. This letter could include a heartfelt and encouraging message, instructions for accessing assistance, and/or any other information or words you deem relevant or important.

Additional Resources: